Establishing a Flow of Reusable Knowledge

Often asked in newsgroups, at conferences, and at companies:

Why do organizations continue to spend resources on documenting knowledge when they know it is seldom reused?

Almost every company we visit has invested in SharePoint-based or Wiki-based or similar elaborate Knowledge Management (KM) system, usually replacing a prior KM system; but when we inquire as to how much actual Knowledge REUSE they are seeing, it tends to be just as minimal as past KM efforts... usually very close to zero

Why? All KM systems that rely on keyword search to establish knowledge reuse will suffer the same fate! 

Why?  We can walk you through an example that illustrates the inevitable problem, but briefly:  The more knowledge captured into your search-based KM system, the more each search returns, and thus the more you must wade through to find what's relevant.  (And that's boring work that nobody really wants to do... reinvention is more fun.)  The harder it is to find, the less likely you are to update it.  (And documenting what you know is even less fun than trying to find what you don't know.)  The less likely it is updated, the more obsolete data the next searcher must wade through, and thus the harder it is to find what's relevant.  (This is a vicious cycle, explaining the rise and fall of many KM installations.)  Ultimately, if it becomes easier to re-learn or re-develop the knowledge from scratch, and that "new" knowledge gets captured properly, then you end up with redundant (and usually inconsistent) knowledge in the system... adding to what must be waded through and reconciled... further contributing to the vicious cycle.


"Do not try to bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth." 

-- a Potential, from The Matrix

The truth here is that it's not about the knowledge... nor its management or structure. It's about making good decisions... decisions that do not need to be re-made when you later discover that they were made wrong due to inadequate knowledge. And your organization should be continuously improving in their ability to make such decisions... because that is what the organization exists to do. 

So, don't focus on the structure of the knowledge... focus on the structure of the decision-making. The knowledge should be slave to that... not vice-versa. For such decision-making, you need tools that give you the visibility that you need... and the flexibility to look at the knowledge from many different perspectives, enhancing the brain's ability to innovate... the brains of all the experts in your organization. And the knowledge should be integrated into those decision-making tools.

Our Success Assured™ software includes tools to:

  • MaterialKBMake it far easier to create visual models of what you know
  • Make it easy to modify the visuals on-the-fly, during discussions, so that everybody gets on the same page
  • Use those visual models as decision-making tools
  • Organize those decision-making tools into concise stories of how they come together to solve the specific problem they were created for
  • Establish those decision-making tools and processes as best practices for the organization
  • Continuously improve those best practices as they are reused for ongoing decision-making
  • Avoid the need for any additional "knowledge capture" or "knowledge management" effort... the only "extra" on any project is evaluating how effective the decision-making approach was to determine whether it should become the new best practice for that organization
  • Categorize your knowledge in multiple hierarchies, not just as a way of organizing, but rather as a way of analyzing and leveraging the power of the human brain to identify patterns

That's how Success Assured™ software enables true knowledge reuse, more so than any other Knowledge Management solution available.  Contact us now to learn how we can satisfy your organization's specific KM needs.

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